Refer to complete pdf file above for missing figures in the wiki below:
Resources on the internet for Geoscience Research, with a focus on Geologic mapping, geophysics and imagery:
Compiled by Susanne Janecke
4505 Old Main Hill
Department of Geology
Utah State University
Logan, UT 84322-4505
I appreciate feedback and updates.
Initial compilation of these resources occurred in 2008-2009 for students of Geologic Image Analysis (Geol 5630 USU) and for other interested persons. Updates are periodic.
Google Earth Resources:
A terrain overlay is now available for Google Earth:
This overlay is a spiffed up topographic map with a shaded relief aspect, and some information about land use. I love it and use it often. Download the file just before the comments on the following link:
This link also let you see a simple road map and the satellite view that is current in google maps. You must toggle these overlays on and off, as needed.
A simplified geologic map of every state in the Union is at this web site, along with the entire country, in simple form.
The maps in some state allow you to click on time periods of find distribution of rocks units of that age, including rock descriptions. Many of these are based on old, out-of-date, state geologic maps. For much more detail, please use the maps in the next entry below.
Nevertheless it is an excellent resource for a very quick, first-cut look at the geology of every state in the United States of America.

Digital Geologic maps as overlays in Google earth organized by state:
Warning-this included many old and out of date geologic maps. The one in Idaho is an abomination and a new map is coming our in 2012 or 2013, Montana’s has been replaced, etc. User beware. Newer geologic maps are available from some of the State Geologic Surveys.
For Idaho please refer to the Digital Geology of Idaho by Paul Link and others instead:
This web site was developed by Paul K. Link of Idaho State University, Reed S. Lewis of the Idaho Geological Survey, Shuhab Khan of the University of Houston, and Keegan Schmidt of Lewis-Clark State College,
Low angle aerial photographs of the Wasatch fault and E Cache Fault are posted on a Google Earth index by the Utah geological Survey. OFR-548 and related publications have the detailed reports and photos.
Note: this was very hard to locate within the UGS web site.
Topographic maps of the US have been scanned and converted into Google earth files. You can drape then over the terrain: I have identified two ways that work well: on this page locate the clickable text “Topographical Overlay”, load the downloaded file into Google earth and enjoy. The map scale changes as you zoon in and out, so it takes time to load. Periodic updates occur so you may need to go back to the original web site once in a while to download the latest and greatest .kml or .kmz file.
Or go to this site and click on “Google Earth KML file”. Load the file into google earth and follow the instructions. This site allows you to truly download a drg of a topographic map at 1:24,000 so for serious research this is perhaps better.

In Southern California:
San Diego State University has a GREAT web site for geologic information: This includes many overlays of geologic and geophysical maps on Google Earth
Be sure to explore all the resources in this web site. I use the overlay of USGS quadrangles on a regular basis. There is an overlay showing you the locations and names of 1:24,000 scale topographic maps, 1:100,000 scale maps and more in the “Tools button”.

LIDAR data acquired via EarthScope is becoming available on one portal called Open Topography.
Check out the coeval and crossing fault in the Yellowstone caldera on this data set.

B4 LIDAR for Southern San Andreas fault, San Jacinto fault except for its SE traces as an overlay on Google Earth. .
This is a terrific resource and saves the neophyte from the onerous task of processing LIDAR data. Be warned that this overlay is not located correctly in every/most cases when you compare with Google earth below
Other DEMS:

Utah Geologic map for Google Earth:

Virtual Utah-: another portal into imagery in Utah
USGS Quaternary fault and fold database in Google earth: I use this daily.
You will have to download folders of fault traces and data for a bunch of faults and folds. These are organized by their age of last rupture. It takes timeto download all of these files but is so worth doing.
After you download Quaternary fault traces you can select the fault and be linked to the data file for each fault or section. (Caution-too many of these faults are CLEARLY mis-located. Be smart and check the location against the ground-truth shown on the Google Earth image below the traces.) Problems of mis-location are especially acute in rural areas, where faults have low slip rates. I know that parts of Idaho and Montana are particularly problematic. California is better than most states but could use a serious upgrade in some areas distant from large population centers. Yes, lots more mapping is needed by trained geologists to fix this.
UPDATE: An upgrade in 2010 helped resolve many of the issues in California. See the following links to the new state faults map (2010) and the new state geologic map (2010) plus nice links to many older maps at the 250 k and 100 k scale.

1:250,000 scale geologic maps of California these are the old ones so be sure to use the new ones when they are available click on

Geologic maps of California”. Only one map can be viewed at a time.

Earthquake preparedness in Utah and intermountain west
See the following site for financial advice and more pertaining to earthquake preparedness
FPW: Check out this valuable info below on preparing for earthquakes and review the FPW blog for info on earthquake insurance and related items. Search for “earthquake” in:
The pamphlet “Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country-Utah edition” is excellent and is modeled after a great one in California: Visit this site:
The Southern California Earthquake Center is the author of the first pamphlet. A key point is to stay inside during an earthquake since falling buildings can injure you if you go outside. I know it may seem counterintuitive but people are killed by stuff falling off the sides of buildings, like bricks, gargoyles, and more.
Be sure to simply explore the Earth in Google Earth. You will learn a lot. For example, here is a set of three-dimensional normal faults in the Afar Triangle of Africa. For those of us trying to understand mutually interfering faults, this example shows one way that it works.
external image placeholder?w=505&h=349

Software that competes with Google Earth and augments our learning:
GeoMapApp: This is an awesome a free software package that is getting better and better all the time.
Download it for free from this site. There are movies explaining the functions.

Be sure to explore making your own multicolor pallettes of topography. No offense, but the default palette hides the geology from clear view and needs to be amped up in contrast. If you know Photoshop or iPhoto and know how to improve images-just do a “histogram stretch” or “histogram crop” on the topography in your field of view and that alone will bring the landscape to life before your very eyes.
GeoMapApp now has 10 m DEMS of the United State loaded. Find these under the NASA button on the main top menu. The marine resolution is 90 m and other continents are sampled at 30 m. Select the “NASA” button on the top selection of tools.
Virtual Ocean is another free software package from the marine folks. It show global bathymetry and continental digital elevation models to a decent resolution. go to the “click here” toggle. Check out the surface of the earth at 20x vertical exaggeration. Load the Geiod! Put on the magnetic map. This is a fabulous tool for working on large regions where high resolution is not needed (at least on land this is the case). REALLY check this out. It is worth the effort. Geomapapp has all the same data embebbed in it (and a lot more) and it allows for more manipulation but Geomapapp does not project onto a globe. You can decide whether you are a flat earth type (geomapapp is for you then) or a spherical type. Fly through your favorite trench and up into a collisional belt at 20 x vertical exaggeration. What a rush.
Here is the best part. You can create an image in Geomapapp or load a data set into Geomapapp and manipulate it to show what you want with the nicest possible color schemes. Then save the image in all sorts of possible formats. I like to use Google Earth, so I save in a .kmz format. Then you can transfer your image over to Google Earth and continue working there. I have done this for DEMS of research areas. It works great! Really.
A Caveat: If you need high resolution digital elevation models you have to grab a whole bunch of adjacent images from GeoMapapp at high resolution (zoomed in). Doing this is time consuming and you can get hideous gaps in data if you are not careful. In addition, any change in the parameters of your image will mean that adjacent dems do not match in their color scheme or resolution, or contour interval or whatever. For example, do not start making dems and then decide to turn off the contours. You will have to start over and redo your work. Work on the fastest computer with the faster internet connection and the largest possible screen.

How to acquire and process Landsat data for geologic interpretation:
Identify the scene of interest using the following web-based selection process.
USGS Global Visualization Viewer
Pick a spot in the desert unless your research requires a more vegetated scene.
Under Collection menu select LANDSAT archive> Landsat 7 SLC-on (1999-2003). This is the only 15 m data with the higher resolution. All bands are 30m resolution except band 8 with is 15 m from 1999 to 2003.
In the visualizer under the resolution menu select 240 m. This provides an excellent preview of your scene. Move around using the arrows to pick a scene.
When you settle on a scene, click on its long name (a string of letters and numbers), highlight the name of the scene, click ADD. If the download button becomes active, download the file. If not do one to two things. Register as a user (free). You will be asked to do so the first time you try to download data. And or select another scene that is downloadable right away. Some of Africa did not download right away but I found plenty of cool scenes to download right away.
Use the guide in the following web site to process an image with red=band 7, green-band 4, and blue=band 2
I reproduced screen shots from this site below.
A key step is to open a band from your files in Photoshop. Then convert that file to a new mode-RGB. This means RED, blue, green. Rename this new file for the band sequence that oyu plan to use (say “N utah landsat 742.psd”). Then insert the other bands in the RGB channels, as indicated below. Put band 4 in the green slot and so on.

Save often.

Make back ups.
processing landsat in photoshop step 1.png
processing landsat in photoshop step 1.png

Save often.

processing landsat in photoshop step 2.png
processing landsat in photoshop step 2.png

Save often
processing landsat in photoshop step 3.png
processing landsat in photoshop step 3.png

processing landsat in photoshop step 4.png
processing landsat in photoshop step 4.png

Save often.

processing landsat in photoshop step 6.png
processing landsat in photoshop step 6.png

Save often.
photoshop methods alt.png
photoshop methods alt.png

Save often.
Other things we will learn to do are:
Histogram stretch: Under Image menu select levels. A histograms appears after a while. Move the toggles to remove sections where there is no data. Center the middle toggle to make the image look nice a crisp.
Select the RGB channel at the top of the channel dialog box. Now go to Image>Adjustments>Levels (or type “command L”). Select R, or G or B. This allows you to do a histogram stretch on each channel separately, in sequence. It allows you to see how the changes affect your image as you go along too.
Save often.
Inserting band 8: Create a nice image. Say your 742 image. Open it. This will be the start of a higher resolution image with band 8 inserted
1) Under image>image size select percent and input 200% for both horizontal and vertical.
2) Image>mode>lab will convert the file from RGB mode to lab mode.
3) Move to channels panel. Notice the lightness entry. You will copy over this with band 8.
4) Open band 8. Give it a histogram stretch. Copy the file.
5) Move back to the 742 image and copy your band 8 file into the lightness channel.
6) Return to layers submenu and examine the product. It may need touch up but will be much crisper than your original 742.
7) Now do a histogram stretch on the A channel of your LAB file. Save it with a new name. This will produce some crazy wild and bright colors that highlight the geology.
8) Do the same for the B channel of your LAB file. Save it with a new name. The colors are now even more wild and lovely.
9) The result of steps 7 and 8 will be an most awesome product that shows a lot of geology.
10) Try the same using different bands-say 5 3 1 and add band 8 to the result. Play around and find what works best for you.
Save often.

Steve Fortney produced an especially great image of the San Rafael Swell in Utah using the following procedure. “The band difference file I submitted with my assignment is a result of performing a band difference calculation three times: band7-band5, band5-band4, and band3-band1, then combining the three files into a RGB composite file. To create each band difference file I imported two bands, indicated the source of each band in the "Calculations" dialogue box found in the Image menu, then performed the calculation. I changed the mode from multichannel to grey scale then I performed a histogram stretch on the band difference file. In a new document I combined all 3 band difference files and adjusted the histogram of the resulting file. Finally, I adjusted the color balance of the composite image. “

Here is his image:
external image placeholder?w=506&h=443
San Rafael Swell, Utah. Stephen Forney processed this Landsat 7 image.
This example in Afar triangle in ne Africa shows how volcanic rocks produce very different spectral responses that only the multispectral satellites “see”. Red spots are vents and cinder comes, which may be emitting gases and vapors that the satellite can detect as well. Hydrothermal alteration is detection by band 7 in Landsat data sets.

Band 7 is the short wavelength Infrared band. It “sees” hydrothermal alteration and also is very sensitive to gases and fluids erupting from active Quaternary volcanoes. You can prospect for active volcanism using recipe I gave above for the 742 plus 8 with a histrogram stretch on lightness, a and b channels. I did this in Baja Mexico and located a lot of unmapped active cinder cones.
afar processed.png
afar processed.png

Other software that you can use for free:
Seamless web site of usgs
produces DEM images, allows topographic cross sections to be made for those who have not learned to use Arc. BEWARE THIS SITE IS VERY SLOW, NOT USER FRIENDLY, WILL DUMP YOU IF YOU ARE IMPATIENT, AND PRODUCES UGLY MAPS (EVERYTHING APPEARS WARPED AND STRETCHED OUT IN THE E-W DIRECTION). Other than that it is great and very useful. If you are happy with lower resolution DEMS GeoMapApp does almost everything that Seamless does only more quickly and better. See below.
Soils maps of the entire US push the big green “start WSS” button
are available online at this site. It is slow, cumbersome but provides a quick looks at the surface geology of a future or present study site. Want to know if the lumpy area is till or a dune field?-check the soils map. It is organized by country and state, so have that information at hand before you dive in. The nice thing about this site is that is even includes unpublished soil surveys. Be prepared to tune youi brain to “soils speak” but look at the “typical profile” to see whether the material is sand, silt gravel or bedrock. Protolith may or may not be identified correctly in my experience.

Imagery from DEMs, Satellites, air photos, other sources besides Google Earth.
Please be aware that the imagery in Google Earth is NOT necessarily the best in every particular area. I have found that the processing done to imagery in Yahoo Maps and maps is superior to that on Google Earth for geologic studies. datasets are best for locating active faults with geomorphic expression. Rock units show up best on and images.
Low-angle aerial photographs of the Wasatch fault and East Cache faults:
Microsoft Research Maps (this used to be Terraserver from Microsoft) maps-This one is not in FlashEarth compilation. This site has bird’s eye view in urban areas. It can help you to map in those areas by providing oblique aerial photographs that appear to be taken from a small airplane. Bird’s eye view is great and makes it easier to identify features. map-
This is in the FlashEarth compilation but for a Mac user the interfaces is nicer at Yahoo. click on the satellite box
BING site: This site has bird’s eye view in urban areas. It can help you to map in those areas by providing oblique aerial photographs that appear to be taken from a small airplane
Google map "satellite” image is sometimes different than that in Google Earth. Sometimes one is noticeably more up to date than the other.
Terrain view in Google map provides a much needed topographic map draped over a DEM image. Scale is close to 1:24,000 at the closest zoom. Some complexities on original topographic maps have been removed and smoothed out. BEWARE OF THIS IF IT MATTERS TO YOU. The highest resolution is a bit unsatisfying but it is still terrific. Consider using these as base maps for sketch maps where REAL topography is important and a shaded DEM without elevation calibration does not provided the necessary information.

USGS Earthexplorer

Valuable information on the Internet:
A great overall web site is Mark Francek’s site at Central Michigan University: Resources for Earth Science and geography instruction. I have signed up for periodic notices of new material. You might want to do this too. It could take a long time going through all these great links.
Teaching with Google earth plus many tips and links:

AGU session in fall 2008 about using Google earth:
There are great links embedded within abstracts.

USGS Earthquake Hazards Program’s collection of Google Earth KML files

Google earth downloads of earthquakes by depth and time. All data sets focus on the last 7 days of events. click the google earth link

European seismological Centre: A series of maps on this site allow you to see how the earthquakes have skipped around the globe in time.
You can select closer views of each continent. “Show the animation” will start the earthquakes.
Upside down earthquakes from Duncan Agnew’s web site
Geologic info in Utah from the Utah Geologic Survey. Google Earth files are provided.

Bay Area California Earthquake geology

USGS Geologic maps in northern California for Google Earth

Ron Schott’s blog about geology and google earth: The website for Earth Science reference data and models.

Digital geology of Analog Geologists:

Photo library from USGS researchers.

Orthophoto quadrangles from each state
California: Casil:


Comparison of old and new aerial photographs of urban areas in Utah
Geology of the national parks

DEM for goggle earth GMRT
I could not locate this again but it is out there

Research tools
Google Scholar:

Global catalog of focal mechanism from larger earthquakes

Geologic map of Montana and adjacent areas: Montana aerial photos

Misc stuff:

Geologic links or imagery: See pg 24 to end for very short “tags” of what each link does, or just try them out!?~language=en&~theme=GP&OSTORE=USGSGP&~OKCODE=START,81%26CISOSORT%3Dsubjec%257Cf&h=120&w=91&sz=3&hl=en&start=3&sig2=GcZDCdbTuJFGBLcfmw9Asw&um=1&tbnid=55rYruStFfbNbM:&tbnh=88&tbnw=67&ei=V6ZtRvHqLIHugQOswJDfAg&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dlogan%2Briver%2Bdelta%2Butah%2Bbonneville%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dsafari%26rls%3Den%26sa%3DG,M1,M1,M1